WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Özhan Özkan
Case No. D2016-2250
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE of Munich, Germany, represented by Deriş Patents and Trademark Agency A.Ş., Turkey.
The Respondent is Özhan Özkan of Antalya, Turkey, self-represented.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianzkampus.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 4, 2016. On November 4, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 4, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 15, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 5, 2016. The Center received an informal email communication from the Respondent on November 25, 2016.
The Center appointed Edoardo Fano as the sole panelist in this matter on December 15, 2016. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
The Panel has not received any requests from the Complainant or the Respondent regarding further submissions, waivers or extensions of deadlines, and the Panel has not found it necessary to request any further information from the Parties.
The language of the proceeding is English, being the language of the Registration Agreement, as per paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Allianz SE, the holding company of the Allianz Group, a leader in the fields of global insurance and asset management services all over the world, owning many trademark registrations for ALLIANZ, including:
- International Trademark Registration No. 447004 ALLIANZ, registered on September 12, 1979;
- European Union Trademark Registration No. 000013656 ALLIANZ, registered on July 22, 2002;
- Turkish trademark Registration No. 97/016243 ALLIANZ, registered on March 23, 1999;
The Complainant also has a trademark application for ALLIANZ KAMPUS, filed on September 27, 2016 before the Turkish Patent Institute.
The Complainant operates its main website at “www.allianz.com”.
The Complainant provided evidence in support of the above.
The disputed domain name <allianzkampus.com> was registered on September 19, 2016. At the time of filing the Complaint, the website at the disputed domain name was not active.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that the disputed domain name <allianzkampus.com> is confusingly similar to its trademark ALLIANZ, as the word “kampus” descriptive and not distinctive.
Moreover, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name since it has not been authorized by the Complainant to register the disputed domain name or to use its trademark within the disputed domain name, nor is the Respondent commonly known by the disputed domain name.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith, since the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ is distinctive and well known all around the world. Therefore, the Respondent had knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name.
As a further element of bad faith, the Complainant submits that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name immediately after the Complainant, on September 10, 2016, had announced in the local press the opening in Turkey of its facility called “Allianz Kampus”.
The Respondent has made no formal reply to the Complainant’s contentions. However, the Respondent submitted an informal email communication on November 25, 2016. In his email, the Respondent stated the following:
“Dear Sirs, First of all I would like to point out that if I take my allianz.com domain name I have not planned any abuse purposes and behaviors that would disturb the reputation of the Allianz SE company. The date of receipt of allianzkampus.com domain name is earlier than the patent application filed by the company "Allianz Kampus". Date of receipt of domain name 19.09.2016. In addition, "Allianz Kampus" is not a part of the company, but is a region in Turkey planned to be completed in 2018 in the center of Gaziemir in the province of Izmir. There is no official value in the news of the complaint. There is no reference to the Allianz Kampus in the "Resmi Gazete", the only official written media source of the Republic of Turkey. Allianz SE was not in any way asked to give me the domain name for themselves.”
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three elements, which the Complainant must satisfy in order to succeed:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant is the owner of the trademark ALLIANZ both by registration and acquired reputation and that the disputed domain name <allianzkampus.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark ALLIANZ.
Regarding the addition of the generic word “kampus”, the Panel notes that it is now well established that the addition of generic terms to a domain name does not necessarily distinguish the domain name from a trademark (see, e.g., Aventis Pharma SA., Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmbH v. Jonathan Valicenti, WIPO Case No. D2005-0037; Red Bull GmbH v. Chai Larbthanasub, WIPO Case No. D2003‑0709; America Online, Inc. v. Dolphin@Heart, WIPO Case No. D2000-0713). The addition of the word “kampus” does not therefore prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
It is also well accepted that a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, may be ignored when assessing the similarity between a trademark and a domain name (see, e.g., VAT Holding AG v. Vat.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0607).
The Panel finds that the Complainant has therefore met its burden of proving that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has failed to file a formal response in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5.
The Complainant, in its Complaint and as set out above, has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It asserts that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The prima facie case presented by the Complainant is enough to shift the burden of production to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain name, and the Panel is unable to establish any such interests on the basis of the evidence in front of it.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that “for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that [the respondent has] registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] web site or location.”
Regarding the registration in bad faith of the disputed domain name, the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ in the fields of global insurance and asset management services is clearly established and the Panel finds that the Respondent likely knew of the Complainant and deliberately registered the disputed domain name, <allianzkampus.com>, because it is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
The registration of the disputed domain name, consisting of addition of the generic word “kampus” to the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ, after only a few days from the Complainant’s announcement to the local press about the opening of the facility ALLIANZ KAMPUS in Izmir, Turkey, reinforces the bad faith element in the registration of the disputed domain name. See in this regard WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”) paragraph 3.1.
The informal email communication by the Respondent is a confirmation that the latter knew about both the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ and the opening of the ALLIANZ KAMPUS in Izmir.
Regarding the use in bad faith of the disputed domain name, pointing to an inactive website, the Panel considers that bad faith may exist even in cases of so-called “passive holding”, as found in the landmark UDRP decision Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. In the circumstances of this case, the Panel finds that such passive holding amounts to bad faith use.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has presented sufficient evidence to satisfy its burden of proof with respect to the issue of whether the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <allianzkampus.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 27, 2016